Review: Society of the Snow
- VENICE 2023: Juan Antonio Bayona brings not much new to the recreation of the incredible plane crash in the Andes in 1973, which has already been seen in previous films such as Alive!
Chosen to close the 80th Venice Film Festival, Society of the Snow [+see also:
interview: JA Bayona
film profile] is Juan Antonio Bayona’s fifth feature film (after his American forays with Jurassic World: [+see also:
film profile] Fallen Kingdom [+see also:
film profile] and the series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’), which recreates the real-life tragedy of the passengers of a plane in 1972 and which has been supported by Netflix.
The plot tells how that year, a Uruguayan Air Force flight chartered from Montevideo to transport a rugby team to Chile, crashed in the heart of the Andes mountains. Only 29 of its 45 passengers survived the crash. Trapped in one of the most hostile and inaccessible environments on the planet, they had to resort to extreme measures in order to stay alive.
But we’ve seen this story before in previous films (the most famous being Frank Marshall’s 1993 film Alive!, but there are more – read here), so why retell it? It is, of course, an incredible drama that pushed human beings to unimaginable limits of survival - and camaraderie. JA Bayona adds an extra touch of transcendence, but it has a commercial feel to it in order to connect with young audiences and contributes little on an artistic level. However, its technical and visual execution is impeccable, especially in the crash scenes and the avalanche.
Over its excessive running time of more than two hours of running time, the more veteran viewer will recall the previous films made about this event that shook the world and will try to determine what makes this one different. Society of the Snow shares aspects in common with both The Orphanage [+see also:
film profile], the Catalan director’s debut film, and The Impossible [+see also:
interview: Juan Antonio Bayona
film profile], about the tsunami that devastated Thailand in 2004, another true tragedy that Bayona brought to the screen.
Both of the aforementioned titles were box-office hits in Spain (but not elsewhere) and with Society of the Snow, filmed in Spanish (the language of the protagonists of the tragedy/feat), both Netflix and Bayona are going to achieve a resounding commercial production. This film may even delight audiences and the American Academy (if it is chosen as the Spanish representative), as it has the perfect makings of a catastrophe film – shrouded in spirituality - that both Bayona and Hollywood like so much.
Society of the Snow is a production from Netflix, Misión de Audaces Films and El Arriero Films, with a screenplay by the director, Bernat Vilaplana, Jaime Marques-Olearraga and Nicolás Casariego based on the novel of the same name by Pablo Vierci. The film will be available worldwide on Netflix.
(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)
Photogallery 09/09/2023: Venice 2023 - Society of the Snow
14 pictures available. Swipe left or right to see them all.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.